Five Crusaders Honored on Baseball All-Conference Teams
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Five Crusaders Honored on Baseball All-Conference Teams

The Valparaiso University baseball team has five representatives on the all-Missouri Valley Conference teams, which were announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Junior outfielder Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) garnered a spot on the First Team, while senior outfielder Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) and sophomore pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) were named all-MVC Honorable Mention. Valpo also has two representatives on the all-defensive team – junior catcher Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) and senior outfielder Jayden Eggimann (Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]).

Billinger achieved Valpo’s eighth first-team all-conference honor since Brian Schmack took over the program in 2014. He owns a .327 batting average in 50 games this season and has ripped 23 doubles, tying the Valpo record for doubles in a single season. The junior college transfer led the team by a wide margin in conference-only batting average as he hit .342 in 21 Missouri Valley Conference games. He has launched six home runs including a three-homer game and has driven in a team-high 44 runs. 

Tieman owns a 4.75 ERA and team-high five wins. He has pitched a conference-most 94 2/3 innings and racked up 54 strikeouts against 30 walks. The sophomore righty has thrown two complete games, most recently pitching the Crusaders to a 2-1 victory at Illinois State on May 11. Tieman has made 14 starts, working the first game for each of the team’s weekend series this season.

Garbella is third on the team in batting average at .301 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with eight. The senior outfielder has racked up 37 RBIs this year, second on the team despite missing nine games with an injury.

Eggimann was used mostly as an infielder last season, but this year he’s found a home in center as a stalwart defensive outfielder. The senior has not made an error all season in 143 chances and has notched one outfield assist.

Kapers was recognized for his strong performance behind the plate, where he has thrown out nearly 40 percent of would-be base stealers. He is also tied for the conference lead in runners picked off with six.

First Team                                      Yr.          Pos.      

Kody Funderburk, DBU                                 Jr.              1B            

John Privitera, Missouri State                      So.             2B            

Jake Means, Indiana State                          Jr.              3B                               

Owen Miller, Illinois State                             Jr.              SS

Jimmy Glowenke, DBU                                  Fr.              SS

Matt Duce, DBU                                             Sr.              C

Drew Millas, Missouri State                          So.             DH

Devlin Granberg, DBU                                   Sr.              OF

Jameson Hannah, DBU                                 Jr.              OF

Blake Billinger, Valparaiso                           Jr.              OF

Michael Baird, Southern Illinois                   Sr.              SP

Trevor Conn, DBU                                          Sr.              SP

Dylan Coleman, Missouri State                    Jr.              SP

Connor Sechler, Missouri State                   Fr.              RP

Kragen Kechely, DBU                                    So.             RP


Second Team                                 Yr.          Pos.      

Dane Giesler, Indiana State                         Sr.              1B            

Logan Blackfan, Southern Illinois                Sr.              1B            

Andrew Ivelia, Bradley                                  Sr.              2B            

Matt Brown, Missouri State                          Sr.              3B                               

Jeremy Eierman, Missouri State                  Jr.              SS

Keaton Rice, Bradley                                    Fr.              C

Derek Bangert, Bradley                                Sr.              DH

Hunter Steinmetz, Missouri State                Jr.              OF

John Rave, Illinois State                               So.             OF

Troy Beilsmith, Evansville                             So.             OF

Tyler Ward, Indiana State                             Jr.              SP

Ty Buckner, Missouri State                           Fr.              SP

Luke Eldred, DBU                                          Fr.              SP

Boby Johnson, Bradley                                 Jr.              RP

Jarod Bayless, DBU                                       Jr.              RP


Honorable Mention                        Yr.          Pos.      

Nikola Vasic, Southern Illinois                      Jr.              2B

Connor Kopach, Southern Illinois                Sr.              SS             

Brendan Dougherty, Bradley                        So.             3B

Tim Millard, DBU                                           Jr.              3B

Collin Braithwaite, Illinois State                   Sr.              C

Eli Rawlinson, Bradley                                  Fr.              OF

Andy Shadid, Bradley                                   Jr.              OF

Giovanni Garbella, Valparaiso                     Sr.              OF

Logan Wiley, Missouri State                         Jr.              SP

Cole Cook, Bradley                                        Jr.              SP

Jon Tieman, Valparaiso                                So.             SP

Bradley Harrison, Southern Illinois              So.             SP

Ryan Netemeyer, Southern Illinois              Sr.              RP

Macgregor Hines, DBU                                  So.             RP

Alex Gray, Bradley                                         Sr.              RP            

Brian Schrimmer, Bradley                            Jr.              RP

All-Defensive Team                        Yr.          Pos.      

Luke Mangieri, Bradley                                 Jr.              1B            

Jarrod Watkins, Indiana State                      Jr.              2B            

Jake Means, Indiana State                          Jr.              3B            

Jimmy Glowenke, DBU                                  Fr.              SS             

Scott Kapers, Valparaiso                              Jr.              C               

John Rave, Illinois State                               So.             OF             

Jayden Eggimann, Valparaiso                      Sr.              OF             

Andy Shadid, Bradley                                   Jr.              OF                                                 

Jameson Hannah, DBU                                 Jr.              OF

Hunter Steinmetz, Missouri State                Jr.              OF             

Brent Headrick, Illinois State                       So.             SP